LIVING with dementia doesn’t mean you have to withdraw from society and shut yourself away.
As Denton couple Bill and Joanne have found out, Active Tameside’s afternoon dementia-friendly sessions offer welcome and very enjoyable respite.
Bill, who is almost 60, was diagnosed with dementia six years ago. His condition has caused him to become hyperactive, but Tai Chi sessions at Active Medlock, in Droylsden, have a soothing effect, helping him to relax.
This is also helpful to Joanne, who works as secretary at Denton Golf Club as well as being Bill’s main carer. Both of them enjoy the sessions which are open to everyone.
“The Active Tameside sessions are great. It’s so good to be able to talk to others in a similar situation, chill out with a drink and snacks, and join in with the activities,” said Joanne. “Even though he can’t really communicate anymore, I know Bill enjoys them as well.”
Joanne, who has been married to Bill for 33 years, added: “While I’m at work, Bill attends the day centre at Wilshaw House in Ashton three days a week and a carer takes him to The Shed at Loxley House, Dukinfield, one day a week.
“A family friend called Jimmy looks after Bill one day a week, too, and takes him to walking football at Medlock.
“Life has become more difficult as Bill’s dementia has progressed. He now needs constant help with all aspects of daily living and nights can be disturbed which means it’s hard for me to get enough sleep.
“That’s why the sessions at Active Medlock are so special. We’ve made some great new friends and Bill, who loves music, really enjoys the dancing.”
Cllr Eleanor Wills, Tameside Council’s executive member for adult care, said: “I’m so pleased to learn that the dementia-friendly sessions don’t just help to lessen the load for Bill and Joanne but provide afternoons that they can enjoy together as a couple.
“Living with dementia will always be difficult for any family, but as an authority we at Tameside are keen to do whatever we can to help. That’s why it’s good to hear our Active Sessions are having an impact and giving people reason to smile.”
If you know anyone who needs help in accessing regularly dementia friendly activity sessions email firstname.lastname@example.org